Horizon Europe: new funding and collaboration opportunities on their way

Posted on: 13 November 2023 by Maëlle Gibbons-Patourel in 2023 Posts

Horizon Europe

With the UK now back as an Associated Country for Horizon Europe, new funding and collaboration opportunities are opening up. In this blog, Maëlle Gibbons-Patourel, Senior Research Development Manager with oversight of our Horizon Europe portfolio, explains what these opportunities are, and what support is available at the University.

On the 7th September, the UK Government and the European Union announced in a joint statement that the UK was associating to Horizon Europe. Horizon Europe is the EU funded Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. With an overall budget of 95.5bn€, it is the biggest programme for research currently available in the world.

UK association to Horizon Europe

Being an Associated Country for the UK, means that we can now participate once again to the programme: We can lead consortia as coordinators, UK researchers can hold once again grants under the European Research Council and Marie Sklodowska Curie Action labels, and UK entities count towards the minimum number of organisations needed to form a Horizon Europe consortium. It also means that UK is back at the table, and can re-join programme committees of Horizon Europe.

The UK has historically done very well with EU framework programmes for Research and Innovation. With Horizon Europe’s predecessor Horizon 2020, the UK was one of the top performing countries in the programme, especially when looking specifically at university participation. UK university researchers participated in and led more Horizon 2020 projects than any other participant country, and the UK had one of the programme’s highest funding bids success rates (15%).

When does association takes place?

The formal UK association to Horizon Europe will be effective as of 1st January 2024, however, in practicality, applying to Horizon Europe funding as Associated Country is not as straight forward than the cut-off date of 1st January 2024 seems to be:

The UK is considered an Associated Country for calls falling under the 2024 Work Programmes and onwards. This means that we are for instance, eligible as a fully associated participant for the forthcoming European Research Council Consolidator Grant call, closing in December 2023, as this call falls under the 2024 Work Programme.

For 2023 Work Programme calls, our participation will be covered by the UK Government’s Horizon Europe Guarantee scheme. The Guarantee covers all calls falling under 2021, 2022 and 2023 Work Programmes, regardless of their closing dates. It is important to keep an eye on the Work Programme year, as certain 2023 Work Programme calls are in fact closing in early 2024:

How do I know if I am applying to a 2023 or 2024 Work Programme call?

Every Horizon funding call has a call identification (ID) number, which sets out which programme year it belongs to. This number is set out clearly for each call in the Work Programme and on the EU’s Funding and Tenders portal website.If the call ID includes ‘2023,’ the call is part of the 2023 Work Programme and will be covered by the UK government guarantee. If the call ID includes ‘2024,’ the call will be part of the 2024 Work Programme, and will be covered by the Association Agreement and we will be eligible as a fully Associated Country.

Horizon Europe opportunities:

With the renewed possibility to participate in Horizon Europe for our researchers, it now more important than ever to reach out to existing European partners and networks to engage with Horizon Europe funding opportunities. Several funding opportunities are available, amongst the 3 main pillars of Horizon Europe:

  • Pillar 1: Excellent Science (includes European Research Council and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions)
  • Pillar 2: Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness (includes thematic clusters, i.e. Cluster 2 Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society)
  • Pillar 3: Innovative Europe

To keep up to date with opportunities, we suggest that you register to the UK National Contact Points (NCPs) newsletters – you can select area, pillar, cluster of interest when registering.  You can also keep an eye on the EC Funding and Tenders Portal, which is the one-stop shop of the European Commission to apply to EU funding, including Horizon Europe.

Horizon Europe research development and support available at the University of Liverpool:

Research development support is available at the University in the central Research and Partnerships team. I am on hand to support academics but also my professional services staff colleagues with engaging with the Horizon Europe Programme and make the most of out of Horizon Europe opportunities. As Senior Research Development Manager, with oversight of our Horizon Europe portfolio, I am responsible for the following*:

  • Navigating Horizon Europe and the current European and International funding landscape
  • Umbrella view of Horizon Europe opportunities
  • Bid development support on priority Horizon Europe applications
  • Training and support for professional services and academic colleagues
  • Resources development
  • Signposting to internal and external resources, contacts, etc.

(*non-exhaustive list!)

As part of my role, I also promote Horizon Europe opportunities and advocate for engagement with the programme. If you are curious about what my day to day role entails and what it is really like to work with Horizon Europe, I recently wrote a blog about it with WONKHE.

My colleague Keith Huckle, International Research Partnerships Manager is also on hand for support to engage with European and International non-HEI partners, with a particular focus on Pillar 3 of Horizon Europe, which directly entails working with industry, SMEs, businesses and other non-HEI types of organisation. Keith can also provide supports with engaging with non-HEI partners for other consortium-based grants of Horizon Europe within Pillars 1 and 2.

I also currently manage a central, internal peer-review and support process for European Research Council grant applicants. I am also developing resources to be made available on our intranet pages - do keep an eye on these pages as they are regularly getting updated. We are currently expanding the team and are hoping to be able to set-up and provide further support for a wider range of Horizon Europe schemes over the next few months.

In the meantime, if you require support or have any queries about engaging with Horizon Europe, feel free to contact myself and the team at Horizon.Europe@liverpool.ac.uk.

Keywords: Funding.